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Commonly Available Technology Applied To The Analysis Of Hydraulic Systems

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.319.1 - 9.319.13



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Paper Authors

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David Huddleston

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract



David H. Huddleston, P.E., Member, ASEE

Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Mississippi State University

Introduction As an applied science, there exists a natural tension between the study of fundamental scientific theory and instruction in analysis and design methodologies within undergraduate engineering curricula. Most engineering courses are structured to emphasize the relevant physical, chemical and biological processes that are then reinforced by learning specific problem solving skills applied to systems of engineering interest. In the area of water resources engineering, analysis commonly results in non-linear differential or algebraic equations or systems of equations. Consequently, the level of application complexity and realism introduced to undergraduates is often limited by the students’ computational capability. Instructors must diligently balance the need to emphasize the engineering system physics versus instruction in numerical methods used to solve resulting mathematical equations. Student comprehension of basic concepts that govern complex engineering systems is often impeded by cumbersome computational procedures.

Effective instruction in the design and analysis of hydraulic systems has been the subject of several recent publications. The December 2001 issue of the Journal of Hydraulic Engineering1 was devoted to the topic of teaching hydraulic design. A common theme among many of these articles was a desire to increase the level of realism associated with engineering systems introduced. Jewell2 discussed the use of a commercial equation solver to facilitate hydraulic design instruction. Weiss and Gulliver3 discussed the use of spreadsheets to analyze various hydraulic design projects. They illustrated that using the spreadsheet as a tool to analyze practical engineering problems not only teaches valuable engineering analysis skills but also enhances students’ computer skills and helps prepare them for the challenges that they will face professionally. Hodge and Taylor4 presented a set of Mathcad procedures applied to analyze various piping system applications. The Mathcad procedures provided a consistent framework for analyzing and solving common piping-system applications. Huddleston5 discussed the use of spreadsheet tools to introduce students to fundamental concepts of computational fluid dynamics by using an illustration from open-channel hydraulics. Whitman and Nygren6 provided an interesting perspective on maintaining an appropriate balance between theory and application to effectively integrate mathematical software into engineering education.

This study examines the use of EXCEL7, a commonly available spreadsheet package, to solve the nonlinear system of equations that arise in the analysis of hydraulic systems typically studied

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Huddleston, D. (2004, June), Commonly Available Technology Applied To The Analysis Of Hydraulic Systems Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--14018

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